At 8am, usually rush hour in the metro, the trains are still sparsely populated. All travellers, with one or two exceptions, wear the mask, now mandatory in public transport.
May 11, 2020 8h21
After eight weeks in bell, Paris is recovering cautiously walking
Maria Elena Bucheli
PARIS — The stress, silences, a few smiles behind the masks. In this Monday, grey, and cold, Paris is coming out eight weeks of confinement with the prudence of a bather feeling the cold water of the tip of the foot.
No excitement, no feeling of “liberation”. The French capital wakes in the calm, cautiously, almost in apnea. “This is really weird. There is a huge fear, nothing is finished. We are on the edge of a precipice and it was the vertigo, but it is necessary to live well”, summarizes Stefan Polonsky, volunteer in associations of solidarity.
In a country where the coronavirus has killed more than 26,000 people since the 1st of march, Paris is always a part of the “red zone”, that is, four regions in the north-east of France where the virus is still circulating actively, and where the pressure remains strong on the hospital system.
At 8am, usually rush hour in the metro, the trains are still sparsely populated. All travellers, with one or two exceptions, wear the mask, now mandatory in public transport. Everybody avoids catching the bar in the metro, one looks at the back, some use tissue paper to open the doors. A woman, looking distraught over his mask of flowers, blurts out : “I find it hard to breathe with this thing”.
“So many constraints”
The same quiet atmosphere in the open air, even if the cars have taken possession of the streets and that there appeared the first traffic jams for 55 days.
In front of a school in the north-east of paris, a few teachers and facilitators gather for a meeting of the “pre-returned”. “Ah, what is this that I am glad to see you again ! I couldn’t take any more of this loneliness”, exclaims with a bright smile Coralie, professor of music. Yet, she already knows that she will not be able to make the children sing — too much risk of spatters. The back-to-school for children 3 to 10 years, one of the measures that caused the most anguish and questioning in recent weeks, promises to be extremely complicated. In this school of 200 students, only about forty children will be accommodated.
“All this is done in haste, there are a lot of conflicting messages. And then he must not believe that it’s going to be a back-to-school. There are so many constraints health [no games, no break-times, distances, etc.] that I do not know exactly what teachers will be able to do,” said Sarah Rodriguez, one of the teachers, who is also concerned about the lack of school psychologists: “containment has been a very harsh trial. There will be children ravaged”.
On the most famous avenue of Paris, the atmosphere is also confusing : there are no crowds on the Champs-Élysées. In the luxury shops like Chanel,the sales assistants masked to disinfect and deliver the order before the open, without illusions on the crowd. “We are in a tourist area, but currently, there are no tourists,” sighs one of them.
In the Face of Sephora, a big sign of make-up, five women await, eager for the doors to open. “The atmosphere is a little unreal, everyone wears masks, it’s very strange”, remarked Irina, a young woman of twenty years.
For the Parisian “happy rebosser, finally”, like Christian Simon, florist, “hyperactive”, a number of other live this day as a test heavy unknown.
“I fear this déconfinement. And I’m afraid that this is very hard for people who do not go to work, like me,” says Léa Girardet, an actress and film director thirty years old. “During the confinement, in some way, it was in the same boat, one was in the same blues. There, it will be hard for those who do not resume the work. I’m afraid they feel much more staggered and excluded”, she says.
“Containment, in a way, it was a cocoon, a suspended time. There, we will all carting of new: the unemployed, the grieving, the reality of what” is Christine, the mother of a family that is not yet known if she will regain her job as secretary.
The fear of a “damn the second wave of the damn virus” pliers also many déconfinés. “It is a company badly bruised. In my actions in the district, these last few days, I’ve seen the tensions rise. I fear also that, now, each looks at the other as a potential serial killer”, is concerned about the humanitarian volunteer Stefan Polonsky.